Holocaust statue stolen, found in Ben-Gurion’s Polish hometown

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Polish police said they located a Holocaust monument that had been reported missing in Plonsk, the birthplace of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

Police found the monument in the possession of individuals who claim they own the area, the Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported last week. Police would not name them. Separately, a Jewish cemetery was desecrated in northern Poland and a Holocaust monument was vandalized in western Hungary.

The land in Plonsk is state owned but on a long-term lease, and is subject to talks on returning it to the Jewish community.

The monument, which had been unveiled in 1983, will be returned to its original site, the city said. It was built near a Jewish cemetery that, according to the website sztetl.org.pl, had been destroyed during World War II and built on after it.


Featuring a large stone tablet with the inscription: “In memory of Polish Jews murdered in 1939-1945. The community of Plonsk,” it rested on pillars built on three slabs of stone symbolizing the headstones that had been destroyed there.

Because of the link to Ben-Gurion, Plonsk is “visited by tourist groups and official delegations from all over the world,” said Filip Przedpełski, a municipal spokesperson. “The dismantling of the monument is a very sad thing. The mayor is shocked.” The city would not name the people who dismantled the monument.

Separately, unidentified vandals desecrated a Jewish cemetery in Gdansk, 175 miles north of Warsaw.

Polish police last week began investigating the incident there following a complaint by the local Jewish community about the desecration of at least seven headstones, Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

Vandals, presumably metal thieves, several times removed the perimeter fence of the cemetery but the desecration last week was the first time in recent years that the vandals went on knock over headstones, according to Michal Samet, head of the Gdansk Jewish community. He also said some of the headstones destroyed had been painstakingly preserved by the community, including by gluing and repairing cracks in them

On Sunday, an unrelated incident was discovered in Hungary, in the city of Zalaegerszeg 135 miles west of Budapest. Unidentified vandals stole materials from a monument that was unveiled there in 2005, consisting of a marble column fitted with a copper menorah.

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